- The Bucks selected G League Ignite wing MarJon Beauchamp at No. 24 and GM Jon Horst believes that Beauchamp can make an impact with his defensive tenacity, Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes. “Length, athleticism, I think he’s got a grittiness and a toughness to him,” Horst said. “He’s going to have to work on his strength like any young player. … One thing about the G League is it’s a bunch of fast, quick, athletic guys, and I think he really held his own.”
It doesn’t appear that veteran center Marc Gasol will be making an NBA comeback this fall. As Johnny Askounis of Eurhoops.net relays, multiple reports out of Spain have indicated that Gasol intends to remain a member of Girona, the Spanish team he owns and plays for.
Girona competed this past season in Spain’s second-division Liga Española de Baloncesto, but has received a promotion to the top Spanish league, Liga Endesa, for the 2022/23 season. Having helped his team earn that promotion by averaging 14.5 PPG and 8.2 RPG this season, Gasol’s goal is now to actually play for Girona in Liga Endesa competition, according to Askounis.
Here’s more from around the basketball world:
- Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report (all Twitter links) has the details on the cash that changed hands in a few draft-night trades, reporting that the Magic received $2.15MM from the Lakers as part of the deal for the No. 35 pick; the Grizzlies sent $1MM to the Spurs as part of the swap for Kennedy Chandler‘s draft rights; and the Pacers got $1MM from the Bucks for selling the final pick in the draft (No. 58 pick Hugo Besson). That $2.15MM was the most Orlando could have acquired in a deal, as our cash tracker shows.
- With the 2022 draft in the books, Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link) has already turned his attention to 2023, publishing an initial mock draft for next year. As Givony and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic write, the 2023 NBA draft looks like it’ll be the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes.
- The NBA G League announced in a press release that Washington State center Efe Abogidi has officially signed with the G League Ignite, as expected. Meanwhile, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, five-star recruit Matas Buzelis, one of the top prospects in the class of 2023, has committed to the Ignite for the 2023/24 season.
- Former NBA first-round pick Ante Zizic has officially signed with Turkish team Anadolu Efes following his departure from Maccabi Tel Aviv. Zizc, who received a two-year deal with a third-year option, appeared in 113 NBA games for Boston and Cleveland from 2017-20.
In 34 games (34.1 MPG) as a junior for Mississippi State last season, the Panamanian guard averaged 17.5 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 3.6 APG and 1.2 SPG on .454/.252/.868 shooting. For his efforts, he earned a berth on the All-SEC First Team.
Molinar is ranked 29th on ESPN’s list of the top undrafted rookies, and was the 85th-ranked prospect heading into the draft.
The terms of Molinar’s agreement are unclear, but if it’s an Exhibit 10 deal, it’ll be a non-guaranteed, minimum-salary contract that could be converted into a two-way deal before the regular season begins. A player on an Exhibit 10 contract is also eligible for a bonus worth up to $50K if he’s waived and then becomes an affiliate player for his team’s G League squad.
The 6’4″ combo guard played four seasons with the Panthers and was named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year in 2020 and 2022. Green missed most of his junior year because of hip surgery, but he bounced back strong as a senior, averaging 18.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 38.8% from three-point range.
Green, who had one year of eligibility remaining, entered the transfer portal at the same time he declared for the draft. He ultimately decided to pursue a pro career rather than return to school.
Milwaukee’s other two-way slot currently belongs to Sandro Mamukelashvili.
Hugo Besson, whom the Bucks took with the final pick in Thursday’s draft, might have been a candidate for a two-way contract, but the team plans to keep him overseas next season, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter link).
A pair of Central Division teams made a late second-round swap, as the Pacers agreed to trade the No. 58 pick to the Bucks, Shams Charania of Stadium tweets. Indiana is receiving cash in the deal, reports James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter link).
The Bucks used the last pick of the draft, which was originally owned by Phoenix, to select French guard Hugo Besson, who played for the New Zealand Breakers last season and averaged 13.9 PPG.
Besson will presumably be a draft-and-stash pick for Milwaukee.
As the Pacers continue to weigh the possibility of trading center Myles Turner, the Timberwolves, Raptors, and Hornets are among the teams believed to be interested, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
According to Fischer, the Knicks have showed interest in Turner in recent years too, but the expectation is that they’d only be a serious suitor for the big man if Mitchell Robinson leaves in free agency.
Here’s more from Fischer:
- The Sixers have called “a healthy portion” of the teams around the NBA in an effort to gauge their interest in Tobias Harris, Danny Green, and Matisse Thybulle, sources tell Bleacher Report. Fischer suggests Philadelphia has been trying to find teams that would give up a first-round pick for Thybulle as part of a three-team trade that would send an impact veteran rotation to the 76ers.
- The Jazz are seeking a first-round pick in exchange for any of their rotation players besides Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, according to Fischer, who adds that Royce O’Neale is generating significant trade interest around the NBA.
- Nikola Jokic is thought to be a “driving factor” in the Nuggets‘ interest in Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic, a draft-and-stash EuroLeague star whose NBA rights are held by the Thunder. The Spurs, Bucks, and Bulls have also been mentioned as potential suitors for Micic, Fischer reports.
Bucks swingman Pat Connaughton has decided to exercise his player option for 2022/23, putting off free agency for another year, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Having opted in, Connaughton will assure himself of a $5,728,393 salary for next season.
Connaughton, 29, had the best season of his seven-year career in 2021/22, averaging 9.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game in 65 appearances (26.0 MPG). He also established new career highs in three-pointers per game (2.2) while knocking them down at a 39.5% clip. Connaughton’s emergence on the wing was one factor in the Bucks’ decision to trade Donte DiVincenzo at the 2022 deadline.
Connaughton’s option decision comes as a bit of a surprise, since he likely could’ve earned a raise if he had chosen to test the open market. John Hollinger of The Athletic (Twitter link) says he felt Connaughton was worth twice as much as his $5.7MM salary and got the sense that a number of teams agreed.
Now that his option has been exercised, Connaughton will be eligible to sign a contract extension for up to four years and approximately $59MM. As Hollinger notes in a follow-up tweet, it’s possible the veteran wing and the Bucks have already discussed the possibility of an extension and reached a mutual understanding contingent on Connaughton opting in.
Theoretically, the Bucks could commit to paying Connaughton the same amount over the next few seasons with an opt-in and extension as they would have if he’d opted out and signed a new free agent contract. Locking in a lower ’22/23 salary should benefit Milwaukee financially, with team salary projected to be well over the luxury tax line next season.
Within his latest round-up of NBA rumors, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype confirms a number of items that have been previously reported or speculated. According to Scotto, Bucks forward Bobby Portis is widely expected to decline his $4.56MM player option to become a free agent, the Lakers are considered a strong bet to pick up Stanley Johnson‘s $2.35MM team option, and Pelicans guard Devonte’ Graham is available in trade talks.
Scotto’s article includes several other intriguing tidbits related to the draft, free agency, and the trade market. Here are some of the highlights:
- The Nets have fielded trade inquiries on Joe Harris and Cam Thomas, according to Scotto, who says rival executives believe Brooklyn could potentially get a first-round pick in exchange for Thomas. While there’s a sense that Harris might be more available than in previous years due to the Nets’ February acquisition of Seth Curry, the team still believes Harris would be a useful piece on next year’s roster due to his ability to help on the boards and space the floor around Ben Simmons, Scotto writes.
- The Timberwolves, Grizzlies, and Bucks are among the teams that have inquired about the No. 14 overall pick, currently held by the Cavaliers, league sources tell HoopsHype. Scotto previously reported that Cleveland would be open to the idea of moving down in the draft if it meant acquiring a future first-round pick.
- Rival executives who spoke to Scotto believe veteran forward Nicolas Batum could be in line for a deal worth $10MM per year after turning down his player option. The Clippers would have the ability to go that high to re-sign Batum using his Early Bird rights.
- Wake Forest forward Jake LaRavia has visited Milwaukee and worked out for the Bucks twice during the pre-draft process, Scotto reports. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who previously identified LaRavia as a player on Milwaukee’s radar, has him ranked 28th on ESPN’s big board of 2022 prospects. The Bucks hold the 24th overall pick.
Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe, perhaps the biggest enigma of the 2022 NBA draft, is the subject of several rumors in Jonathan Givony’s latest mock draft at ESPN.com (Insider link).
Givony has Sharpe coming off the board at No. 7 to Portland, writing that Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is believed to be a fan of the young guard, despite the fact that Sharpe is 12 years younger than Lillard and is on a “completely different timetable.”
A pair of teams picking later in the lottery may also have their sights set on Sharpe. The Thunder, who hold the No. 12 pick, continue to pursue trade-up opportunities, according to Givony, who says Sharpe and Jaden Ivey are among the players Oklahoma City appears to be targeting.
Meanwhile, Sharpe is also said to intrigue the Hornets if they trade up from No. 13, Givony writes, noting that the Kentucky guard surprised other teams when he opted to work out for Charlotte.
Here are a few more of the most interesting tidbits from Givony’s newest mock:
- Virtually every NBA team expects the Magic to select Jabari Smith first overall and would be surprised if they go in a different direction.
- The Kings are considered more likely to stand pat than to trade the No. 4 pick, but they’ve had discussions with almost every team behind them in the lottery and even some outside of the lottery, per Givony. Pacers wing Chris Duarte is among the possible trade targets the Kings have done their homework on, Givony adds.
- Surprisingly, Givony has heard the Suns are among the clubs exploring trade scenarios involving the Pelicans‘ No. 8 pick. Givony suggests Phoenix could potentially include a player like Cameron Johnson in its offer to help create more long-term cap flexibility to retain Deandre Ayton.
- There’s a widespread belief that the Knicks won’t end up picking at No. 11, Givony reports. they’re “aggressively” exploring scenarios in which they trade back or trade out of the first round.
- Rival teams believe the Cavaliers are high on Ousmane Dieng, though he could be off the board by No. 14, says Givony.
- Echoing multiple recent reports, Givony identifies Hawks big man John Collins as a major draft-day trade candidate. Givony goes a step further, suggesting that Collins could even be packaged with Kevin Huerter in a deal involving the Kings‘ No. 4 overall pick.
- The Bucks (No. 24) are eyeing older prospects who could help them win right away, such as Andrew Nembhard, Jake LaRavia, Christian Braun and Ismael Kamagate, according to Givony, who has heard from rival teams that Milwaukee has also conveyed some interest in trading up into the teens, possibly for a big man like Mark Williams and Walker Kessler.